Finding Tough Dog Toys for Strong Chewers
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been suckered into buying a toy claiming to be made for strong chewers only to watch our dog, Rodrigo, gleefully destroy it in under 15 minutes. Destroying dog toys has become an Olympic event in house – we hand Rodrigo the toy, set the timer, and let him go at it. I think his best time was under 5 minutes.
Image: Emery-Way, Flickr
I’m Kimberly. I’m a dog mom to littermates who will be 4 years old in the Spring and the blogger behind Keep the Tail Wagging. When I brought our dogs home, I had no idea what I was getting in to when it came to raising dogs. I knew that bringing home littermates wasn’t a great idea, I knew that it would be expensive and a lot of work, and I knew I would need the help and support of a dog trainer – check, check, check! What I didn’t expect was everything I’ve learned these past 3 years about dog nutrition, training, and behavior. It’s overwhelming. But I’m a good student.
Our Dogs | Rodrigo and Sydney
We adopted Rodrigo first. We knew he was for us within minutes of seeing him; a few days later, I broke the news to my boyfriend that I wanted a second puppy. And Sydney and Rodrigo came home with us two weeks later. They are Australian Shepherd mix – Rodrigo is part Border Collie, Sydney is part Labrador. And I’m certain there’s more fun breeds mixed in each of our dogs.
A few years later, our dogs have solid personalities that crack us up and like most dog parents, we know which toys work with our dogs and which don’t.
Sydney likes things to chew on that are similar to a bully stick; she’s more interested in tossing around my slippers than playing with a plush dog toy.
Rodrigo, love everything, so we have a list of things he can’t have, which includes plush toys with squeakers in them. He rips them open, pulls out the squeaker, chews it a few times, then swallows. One night, we got 5 squeakers out of him (Link: how to make your dog regurgitate squeakers).
Training Rodrigo NOT to Destroy
The thought crossed my mind to train Rodrigo to be gentle with his toys, but where’s the fun in that for him? What we did, instead, was train Rodrigo not to destroy the toys belonging to his siblings (Riley and Blue, no longer with us). Rodrigo is a dominant dog; not aggressive, which makes him a toy hog.
Finding Tough Dog Toys
There’s nothing more annoying that a toy claiming to be tough when it’s not. Actually, that’s wrong. What’s even more annoying is the fact that I fall for these claims every single time and have even found myself walking out the store with a toy that I knew would be toast 10 minute after I arrived home.
So now I have a criteria (that I don’t always stick too) for what makes a toy tough enough for our dogs…
- It needs to be hard; not hard enough to break teeth, just harder than a plush bunny. Nylabone hard.
- It can’t be edible; I stay away from dog toys that claim to be edible. That just seems a vet visit waiting to happen.
- It needs to be bigger than a golf ball. Knowing that Rodrigo has no trouble swallowing a squeaker has made me wary of small toys.
Easy, right? I thought so too. But I’ve been a dog mom for more than 3 years and a blogger for nearly 2 years and I just discovered toys that can stand up to Rodrigo.
Image: Anne Heathen, Flickr
Finally, Tough Dog Toys!
Treatstik is a treat dispensing toy. When they told me it was a match for Rodrigo, I rolled my eyes and got my camera ready so that I could show these people who foolish there were. Months later, the Treatstik is still dispensing treats. I’m stunned, because Rodrigo destroyed two treat dispensing toys previously; it took longer than the average dog toy, but it happened.
Another toy that I never considered (because of the price tag) is the Nylabone Proaction Dog Dental Chew. After testing it with our dogs, I went out and bought a few more; if one ends up beneath the sofa, there’s another one within reach.
And of course there’s the go to dog toy – Kong. Our dogs have never destroyed a Kong dog toy (with the exception of their flyers). For flyers, we go with Aerobie Dogobie Discs. We’ve tried out several of their toys; the yellow squeaker series last a couple weeks in our house, but the toy that has caught my eye is the Jolly Ball.
Finding Afforable Tough Dog Toys
The one thing that truly tough dog toys seem to have in common is the price; so I shop the sales. Our local pet store has an annual sale and keeps customers updated through a flyer (Petco and Petsmart have flyers too). And pet stores have Black Friday too – so while most people are in line to get into Best Buy and Target; I sleep in and head over to the pet store and stock up on the qualifying toys that have been marked down for the morning.
Now it’s Your Turn
Because it’s important that we, the dog lover community, share what we’re learning, I’d love to hear what tough dog toys you’ve found. Which dog toys do you recommend?